Ira Cooper joined the Ridgewood United Methodist Church staff as Director of Music and Organist in 2007 following 25 years of service as Minster of Music and Organist at Grace Lutheran Church in Elyria, Ohio. Formerly he was interim organist and choir director at Westlake United Methodist Church.
Ira received his Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Findlay University and went on to earn his Master of Church Music from Concordia University in River Forest, Illinois. He recently retired from the Lorain City Schools where he taught choir at General Johnnie Wilson Middle School and acted as Assistant Band Director at Lorain Southview High School.
In addition to serving as music director for the Lorain County Community Chorale’s annual “Messiah” presentations in the past, he has also been music director for Elyria Summer Theater, Lorain Community Music Theater and Bay Village’s Huntington Playhouse to round out his musical theater experience.
Ira has been a member of a variety of professional music associations, including the Ohio Music Educators Association, American Choral Directors Association, Lorain County Chapter American Guild of Organists, Lorain Education Association and Association of Lutheran Musicians, and was active in the Lorain County Arts Council.
Ira has a real passion for service planning and service playing, which sparked his interest in writing countless psalm tones, antiphons, introits, organ improvisations for hymn stanzas, choir descants and hymn concertos for the church services. All of his compositions remain unpublished.
At Ridgewood, he hopes, through music and fellowship, to open the eyes, hearts and minds of the worshipping body in order to gain a closer glimpse of the beauty and warmth of Jesus the Christ. He is a true asset to the music ministry at Ridgewood!